The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative.
They are sent by e-mail from the Obama headquarters in Chicago to reporters who have interviewed campaign officials under one major condition: the press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.
Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president’s top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review. ...NYT
The Romney campaign does the same thing.
The Romney campaign insists that journalists interviewing any of Mitt Romney’s five sons agree to use only quotations that are approved by the press office. And Romney advisers almost always require that reporters ask them for the green light on anything from a conversation that they would like to include in an article. ...NYT
And now the world of journalism is crying "foul!"
National Journal said it would ban the use of quotations that had been massaged or manipulated by its sources, joining a growing chorus of news organizations that are objecting to a practice that has become increasingly common in political journalism.
In a memorandum to the staff, Ron Fournier, National Journal’s editor in chief, said, “If a public official wants to use NJ as a platform for his/her point of view, the price of admission is a quote that is on-record, unedited and unadulterated.” ...NYT
More are climbing on board. Sooner... better.
The Times has said that it encourages its reporters to push back against sources who demand quote approval and that it is reviewing how its policies might address the issue. The Washington Examiner said last week that it, too, would not accept interviews granted under the condition of quote approval.
Politico’s editor in chief, John Harris, said he advised reporters to resist such conditions for interviews and expressed dismay that political figures were becoming more comfortable avoiding on-the-record interviews.
“Journalists need to work hard to make sure we are doing everything possible to insist on accessibility and accountability,” Mr. Harris said last week. ...NYT
Funny how people sometimes make a statement and follow it with "and you can take that to the bank!" Well, we aren't damfools about banks anymore either.